Albanese Administration Breaks Senate Stalemate with $10bn Housing Future Fund Plan

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The governing administration under Anthony Albanese has brokered an agreement intended to resolve a senate stalemate concerning the formative $10bn fund for social and affordable housing, known as the Housing Australia Future Fund (HAFF).

Previously, voting on the bill was dramatically postponed twice as the Greens formed an alliance with the Coalition to adjourn the legislative scrutiny until October. This move resulted from the assertion that the proposal was not adequate.

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Yet, in an unexpected reversal, the Greens, on Monday, declared their endorsement of the bill, traded for an extra $1bn to be designated to the National Housing Infrastructure Facility. This allowance is for the construction of additional homes for Australians who require them. The announcement supplements the $2bn the federal government invested into social housing in July.

Adam Bandt, the leader of the Greens, grudgingly welcomed the supplementary funding, expressing his vexation at the government’s unyielding stance on rent caps or freezes.

Bandt addressed reporters, revealing his discontent that the government had, only nine months prior, been unwilling to ensure any financial support for housing. He also noted that renters barely featured in the national discourse. However, acknowledging the Greens’ achievement of securing $3bn spent directly on housing, he predicted renters are evolving into a powerful social group that refuses to be dismissed.

Subsequently, Bandt communicated a renewed focus on procuring rent caps and freezes.

Labor’s renowned promise during the election campaign, the HAFF, an investment vehicle created to amass funds for social and affordable housing projects, intends to invest $10bn with the Future Fund. This investment aims to generate earnings, expending a minimum of $500m annually, to construct at least 30,000 homes in the first five years.

Anthony Albanese, assuring that the new arrangement will result in the Senate passing the HAFF bill within the week. In an act of goodwill, the government conveyed its opening question on the house floor to Mr. Bandt. The Prime Minister expressed gratitude towards the Greens and senate crossbenchers, Jacqui Lambie, Tammy Tyrrell, and David Pocock, for their endorsement, criticizing the opposition for their universal resistance.

Housing Minister Julie Collins further highlighted the significance of the HAFF as the largest single investment from a federal government in over a decade.

On Monday, Greens housing spokesperson Max Chandler-Mather dismissed concerns about neglecting renters’ rights. While acknowledging possible obstacles, he stated his hopes of teaching a firm lesson to Labor about disregarding renters.

Ms. Collins retorted, acknowledging the challenges faced by renters and confirming their consideration in the national cabinet agenda. She highlighted a clear understanding that the solution to rent issues includes a higher supply of houses of all categories but, specifically, rental homes.

She further referred to the HAFF getting legislative approval for an additional 30,000 social and affordable rental homes in the first five years of the fund.